Fort Worth July 24, 2014 - The BNSF Railway Foundation announced a $3 million pledge to the USO that will support USO hiring initiatives for active duty men and women transitioning out of the military. Today, at a special luncheon in Colorado Springs, Colo., BNSF Railway Foundation President Zak Andersen presented a check for $3 million to the USO, which represents a three-year commitment to the USO’s mission to support our nation’s military veterans. With its pledge, BNSF becomes the primary sponsor for the USO program.
“We are honored to partner with the USO on such an important initiative that helps connect employers with military veterans and provides the tools necessary for troops to successfully transition to civilian careers”
“We are thrilled to have BNSF join us in our mission to support transitioning troops as they return to the civilian workforce,” said John I. Pray Jr., interim president and chief executive officer of the USO. “Their commitment to bettering the lives of our troops through the USO's employment initiatives is absolutely essential to building the hope and confidence that keeps military families both strong and resilient. On behalf of the entire USO family, I’d like to thank BNSF for helping us support these amazing men and women and provide them with the career opportunities they so richly deserve.”
BNSF has a strong military recruiting program with a long tradition of hiring veterans. In 2013, more than 1,200 or 26 percent of all its new employees were veterans. BNSF currently employs more than 7,500 veterans, which is nearly 17 percent of its total workforce.
“We are honored to partner with the USO on such an important initiative that helps connect employers with military veterans and provides the tools necessary for troops to successfully transition to civilian careers,” said Carl Ice, president and chief executive officer of BNSF Railway.
“Working with the USO is something we are extremely proud of and fits well with our longstanding commitment to hire military veterans. Our railroad runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Some days our team is asked to operate in adverse conditions that can require quick thinking and an unwavering dedication to the mission. The men and women of the United States military know what it means to be mission-focused and bring experience and training that adds so much value to the work we do.”
When troops decide to leave the military, one of the most difficult challenges they face is translating their military work experiences into language that is relevant to potential civilian employers. The USO is dedicated to helping our troops develop the tools they need to make their individual transitions to the civilian workforce as smooth as possible. BNSF’s commitment to the USO will fund an array of programs that provide employment services to wounded, ill and injured troops and their families and caregivers. Specifically, the donation will provide support for USO/Hire Heroes USA Transition Workshops and USO/Hire Heroes USA Career Opportunity Days. These comprehensive programs include: practice interviews; resume preparation; and networking opportunities with the goal of connecting troops with employers who understand the value of their military experience and are looking for talented men and women to join their teams.
This special luncheon was part of the USO/Hire Heroes Career Opportunity Day in Colorado Springs. During this free event employers interacted with more than 50 active duty or wounded, ill or injured service members transitioning to a civilian career, as well as their spouses and caregivers. To attend, service members completed a USO/Hire Heroes USA Transition Workshop or another employment preparation program to help prepare a resume. Employers received the resumes in advance for those that pre-registered.
The attendees were matched with employers based on their military specialty, previous experience, and geographic interest for relocation. Service members and their spouses had the opportunity to schedule interviews with employers on-site. This format provides the employer and the service members a chance to interact one-on-one, and allows time for the hiring manager to provide constructive feedback and discuss opportunities.